Video: 5 mins with Zoe Murphy

Zoe Murphy is creating a name for herself as one of the hottest new furniture up-cyclers, with Liberty of London and Osbourne & Little now selling her hand printed, custom furniture pieces.  I met the lovely Zoe at Tent London during London Design Festival 2012 and asked her about her craft, her latest designs and inspiration for her work.

Watch the video interview and/or read on for more details:

DLB: Tell me about your products

Everything is second hand furniture, but we change the legs, handles, re-veneer and screen print our designs on things to pull them into the same style. I feel that if  we can create a whole range of similar looking furniture from disparate orignial pieces it makes for more of an opportunity for those pieces to be recycled.

Image: One of Zoe’s trademarks – the English Oak handles and legs, which are made locally.

DLB: Can someone supply you with a piece of their own?

Yes, we work onto a lot of ‘owned’ furniture. People will often have pieces that have a lot of sentimental value so they don’t want to get rid of them, however, they might not fit with their current interior. This is a great opportunity for us to talk to them about what color and patterns they like, and create something that they will treasure.

DLB: What inspires your different designs?

These (pieces above) are the Margate collection and are inspired by my hometown of Margate – the colors and buildings I see around the town and the 1950s cafes and the arcade on the waterfront. Growing up there; it was always vivid and colorful.

The new Brilliant Print collection (below) is inspired by a day I took out in Margate which I went out and photographed the Lido, which is a piece of retro architecture. The rain that day was creating dusty tonal colors. I photographed grids and grills and security shutters and these inspired my designs. Again, lots of reference to my town of Margate, but slightly more abstract.

Image: The NEW Brilliant Print collection launched at Tent London.

Image: Inspiration for the Brilliant Print collection. Photo credit: Zoe Murphy

DLB: What measures have you taken to be environmentally friendly?

Printing is a great way to recycle products because you are applying an image to a surface that might have had a big rip, stain, or watermark and by applying a screen print we can decoratively cover it and often the piece can look brand new.

Every material we introduce is as environmentally responsible as it can be. We source organic cottons for the fabric drawer lining, waste wool form around the UK for padding the drawers, recycled grey board and environmentally friendly paints, lacquers and varnishes. We try to make pieces that customer can safely consume.

Right Photo Credit: Zoe Murphy

DLB:  How long does it take you to get a finished product?

Roughly 1 – 2 weeks of production time when I work with a client as it is a very custom process. Equally we have a lot of stock that goes into Liberty and Osborne and Little. Our lead time is 8 – 12 weeks.

Photo Credit: Zoe Murphy

Zoe lives by her message of ‘Love what belongs to you’. She gives these retro furniture pieces a whole new lease on life by restoring and hand printing her own colorful designs on them.  It is exciting for me to meet such a young talented designer who is creating beautiful, unique furniture pieces and doing it in such an environmentally friendly way.  Just like her designs, the future looks very bright for Zoe!

More details can be found at: Zoe Murphy

Images: All images belong to Design Lovers Blog unless otherwise noted. If you do wish to use any of these images please do credit Design Lovers Blog.


More on London Design Festival:

Big love for Tent London

100% Norway (via Bright Bizaar)

Edgy and Urban at Design Junction

Launch of YO! Home at 100% Design.

Design Candy at Decorex.


Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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2 Responses to “Video: 5 mins with Zoe Murphy”
  1.' Simone St George says:

    What a beautiful concept, design and implantation of recycling dated furniture …. Informative and interesting article, lovely…

    • Jill says:

      Thanks Simone. We couldn’t agree more – a terrific way to recycle dated furniture and own a unique handcrafted piece. A refreshing change to buying something mass produced.

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